What a fabulous morning at Grantley Hall with the legend that is Duncan Roy. Duncan has a number of ocean crossings under his belt and is a multiple world record holder in his own right. His knowledge of ocean rowing and what it takes to get across is immense.

The day began with a tour of the unbelievably impressive and newly installed Elite Performance Centre at Grantley Hall. Literally no expense has been spared here. Having been to a few of these over the years to prepare for my various adventures, I have yet to see better quality facilities. A small indication of the vast array of facilities are; cryochamber, altitude training facilities, underwater treadmill, EMS full body training and 3D and electrical-impedence body scanning, etc. etc. The link to the website is here. Any athlete who is serious about measuring and monitoring performance and improvement should seriously consider this.

I came out with good muscle mass – c70kg  and around 20% fat. I have been working for over a year with @gusbarton at Ocean Ready and 6 weeks ago the periodisation programme changed from pure muscular strength to hypertrophy. This is to provide me with fuel for my row; I will be in significant calorie deficit (c3,500 Kcalories) every day during my crossing and therefore need to “bulk up” beforehand so that I can use my body for fuel. The muscle mass figure I was very happy with and is high top quartile – this is testament to Gus’s excellent programme and scheduling. The fat percentage could do with being a couple of percent higher; I’ve managed to get it from 15 – 20% in the last month or two, so it should be a simple process to get it to 22/23% in time for the row in 8 weeks time. One added bonus from the scans was that it revealed my metabolic age, which was 14 years younger than my chronological age.

We then were treated to the most excellent breakfast at the fabulous Shaun Rankin restaurant . I, of course went all-in with a full Yorkshire breakfast with extra toast. After a delicious breakfast Duncan had a good look at the boat and was very impressed, particularly with some of the additions and modifications that Mike at Rannoch and also myself have made. She definitely got the “thumbs up” from Duncan.

After the boat inspection we went to Duncan’s office and he had very kindly printed a list of his experiences and recommendations based on multiple crossings. Of course every year the conditions are different; 2017 was a year of multiple records broken with once in a hundred year wind and wave conditions, 2018 was the opposite with very little weather (relatively speaking) and a full-on rowing race. We went through the list exhaustively and covered a number of situations and eventualities.

An invaluable morning and experience and I feel privileged to have had someone with so much experience give up their time to share with it me. Absolutely priceless. I cant thank you enough Duncan.

Duncan is setting up his own ocean rowing coaching and development business here, and from personal experience, I can’t recommend him highly enough.